Program Assistant

Updated: 6 months ago


Harvard Art Museums


Job Summary

The Harvard Art Museums have an exciting opportunity to support the staff and activities in the Materials Lab (M/Lab), an environment where members of the Harvard campus and the Museums’ wider communities can explore art making as a means of learning and knowing. Programs explore the dynamic relationship between maker, materials and tools, as well as the physical lives of artworks through close-looking, hands-on experimentation, and interaction with experts. Reporting to the Research Curator, Conservation and Technical Study Programs/Director of Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art (SITSA), this individual provides logistical oversight and assists with the planning and implementation of workshops including the two-week Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art (SITSA) a specialized training program for graduate students in art history that runs June 11–24, 2023. These activities and initiatives serve the Materials Lab’s broader vision to foster interdisciplinary, hands-on inquiry into processes and materials of artmaking in support of the art museums’ and university’s goals to spark curiosity, creativity and wonder, break down barriers, create new knowledge, and contribute to individual and community well-being. The Program Assistant will be expected to be fully on-site most of the time.

Note: This is a full-time six-month term position and it is primarily on-site. This position is benefits-eligible.

Position Description

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Provides administrative and logistical support for SITSA and the M/Lab workshops and events. Oversees all components of day-to-day logistics for these programs.
  • Maintains up-to-date program calendars and tracks deadlines. Confirms dates with course instructors, lecturers and other stakeholders and shares accurate information for museums’ master calendar with Visitor Services, Security, and Manager of Public Programs.
  • Ensures that files, materials and space are maintained to foster an orderly and welcoming office/studio environment. Maintains inventory of the materials and clear organization of their storage. Oversees and/or carries out set-up and break-down for workshops and events.
  • Serves as an on-site liaison for SITSA and M/Lab programs. This may include: fielding workshop and event requests and queries; welcoming and assisting participants, coordinating with speakers and vendors, booking, preparing and setting up rooms; assisting with AV; obtaining and preparing materials; completing and submitting function forms; submitting information to academic and public program tracking databases; coordinating calendar content with Manager of Public Programs and Communications; coordinating with internal and external departments including visitor services, facilities, security, catering, communications, IT, as well as with campus and community partners to ensure programs are prepared and executed efficiently, completely, professionally and smoothly. 
  • Procures artists’ materials, supplies, and equipment as needed, keeps them organized and tracks them in an inventory.
  • Gathers material and content for printed and digital instructional and informational materials. Uploads materials to the SITSA course website and various SITSA and M/Lab-related webpages. Oversees file uploading to the Digital Asset Management System (DAMS). Liaises with Communications about M/Lab-related social media content and coverage.
  • Supports the SITSA application process and handles related correspondence and spreadsheets.
  • Liaises with external parties to coordinate speaker and guest teaching artist logistics -- including dealing with contracts, confirming dates, and collecting and archiving relevant forms. Makes travel and accommodation bookings.
  • May compose, proofread, edit and prepare correspondence, reports and other materials using word processing, spreadsheets and/or databases.
  • Schedules meetings. Attends meetings to take notes and maintain program records.
  • Oversees financial and budget tasks, including purchase card management, invoice and receipt reconciliation, and budget tracking.
  • Supports the creation of surveys for the evaluation of the various programs in collaboration with colleagues.
  • Gathers and maintains data for department and grant reports in coordination with colleagues in Institutional Advancement.
  • May help assign tasks and help with training of temporary, on-site support staff such as student program assistants and various student training initiatives.
  • Works closely with other departmental and student assistants to ensure the smooth operation of the programs.

Basic Qualifications

Minimum of 3 years of related administrative support experience. 

Additional Qualifications and Skills

Bachelor’s Degree strongly preferred. Some background in art-making or art history a plus. Outstanding organizational and interpersonal skills; adaptability will be essential to success in this position. Ability to multi-task and maintain positive, helpful attitude. Interest in museums and art helpful. Proficient in relevant software applications (i.e. MS Office) and general ease with digital technologies. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Able to work nights and weekends.

Physical Requirements

This position is conducted in a workshop setting within an art museum building. The Program Assistant may be required to adjust the layout of the tables and chairs, store and retrieve materials from cupboards of various heights, climb on a ladder, move around in narrow spaces, and to handle simple tools, equipment and art materials such as paint, inks, dyes, adhesives, solvents, plaster of Paris, printing plates, wooden boards, etc. Must be able to lift up to 15 pounds.

Additional Information

Additional Information:

The Program Assistant will be expected to be fully on-site most of the time. This will be crucial in the two weeks prior to SITSA and for the two-week duration of the program (June 11–24, 2023). Additional overtime hours will be required during the SITSA workshop including some evening and weekend hours, and occasionally at other times during the term of this position as well, as public workshops are often scheduled on weekends.

The Harvard Art Museums

Ever since their founding, the Harvard Art Museums—the Fogg Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum and Arthur M. Sackler Museum—have been dedicated to advancing and supporting learning at Harvard University, in the local community, and around the world. Displayed in galleries that mix not only media but schools of art, the collection at Harvard is celebrated and interrogated within a larger story of artistic expression and historical and contemporary issues. The diverse collection is among the largest in the United States. Through research, teaching, professional training, and public education the museums strive to advance the understanding and appreciation of art.

The museums value staff diversity and are committed to building a culturally diverse community. We encourage candidates from underrepresented groups to apply.

Harvard University continues to place the highest priority on the health, safety and wellbeing of its faculty, staff, and students, as well as the wider community. Please note that all new employees will be required to provide confirmation of primary series COVID-19 vaccination upon hire, as detailed on our COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Webpage . Harvard University Health Services employees and other health care individuals are also required to be up to date on vaccination as described by the CDC. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. Additional information regarding this requirement, exemptions, verification of vaccination status, and other related policies and resources may be found on the University’s COVID-19 Information Website .   

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging: Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.


We invite you to visit Harvard’s Total Rewards website to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Job Function

General Administration

Department Office Location

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code

403134 Coordinator I


55 - Hvd Union Cler & Tech Workers

Pre-Employment Screening



Full time. 35 hours per week. 

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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